Seasonal snowbird traffic increases

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LABELLE - With much of the United States experiencing extremely cold temperatures, migratory bird populations that have already begun dwindling in past years may suffer a terrible blow. But, throughout Hendry and Glades counties, many local birdwatchers have begun spotting the “snowbirds” that have successfully completed their annual journeys. “FOS” (first of season) sightings of Purple Martins, American Robins, Swallow-tailed kites, and countless other songbird species have been reported.

In LaBelle, one of the popular places to go for birdwatching is LaBelle Nature Park, located at 440 Fraser Ave.

“The American Robins can be heard singing and seen in large flocks feeding on berries and insects as they escape the brutality cold winter in the northern states,” reported Margaret England, Vice President of Hendry-Glades Audubon. “Hundreds of robins are in trees, eating palmetto berries, near the LaBelle Nature Park on Fraser Street.”

American Robins, Tree Swallows, and other songbirds have been popping up in Clewiston as well. At W.C. “Bo” Pelham, Jr. Park, located at 1700 Red Rd., locals have reported quite a few sightings.

“The Purple Martin and Swallow-tailed Kites are making their way from South America to begin nesting and raising their young in our area,” England added. “Hendry Glades Audubon is anxiously waiting for the Purple Martins to return to the Martin house donated to Bo Pelham Park in Clewiston.”

Currently, there is a Purple Martin display at the Hendry County Courthouse, “In hallway at Tag Office,” England recently posted in the Hendry Glades Audubon Facebook group. “A special thanks to Brenda Hoots for loaning display boards to us and to Stephen Buczynski and Stephanie Wagley for creating the informational display with QR code for video,” she added.

For more suggestions of local birdwatching sites, or help identifying species, please visit the Hendry Glades Audubon website or check them out on Facebook.

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